Concerns about Proposed High-rise Towers in our Community

Our community is now facing the prospect of a major new high-rise residential development next to the Bayshore Shopping Centre. It is anticipated this development will impact the surrounding neighbourhoods of Stonehedge, Creekside, Qualicum, and Crystal Beach Lakeview.

The proposed development is from the owners of Bayshore Shopping Centre (Ivanhoe Cambridge). The site is at 100 Bayshore Drive located on the south side of Woodridge Crescent, west of Bayshore Shopping Centre, and directly north of the Bayshore Transit Station.

The proposal is for two residential towers: Tower A is proposed at 27 storeys containing 234 units and Tower B is proposed at 30 storeys containing 266 units. The entrance would be off Woodridge Crescent. The current zoning allows a maximum of 12 storeys and the City’s Official Plan calls for residential towers to be built on arterial roads (which are not adjacent to this site).

The developer has submitted applications for exemptions from the Official Plan and zoning by-law, to be considered by the City’s Planning Committee at an upcoming meeting. The date of this meeting has yet to be scheduled but is expected to be in September.

What you can do

  1. Review the background materials:
  1. Send a letter to the City Planning Committee and to communicate your opinion on this development and encourage informed planning for intensification.

We have created a sample letter you can use as-is or personalize as you wish to communicate your opposition to this development. You’ll find it on our website crystalbeachlakeview.ca

Send email to City staff and the Chair: Laurel.McCreight@ottawa.ca; Jan.Harder@ottawa.ca

Consider including all other members of Planning Committee: Glen.Gower@ottawa.ca; Laura.Dudas@ottawa.ca; Rick.Chiarelli@ottawa.ca; Tim.Tierney@ottawa.ca; Jeff.Leiper@ottawa.ca; Riley.Brockington@ottawa.ca; Scott.Moffatt@ottawa.ca; Allan.Hubley@ottawa.ca

Please cc us at generalcblca@gmail.com and also Theresa.Kavanagh@ottawa.ca and Jim. Watson@ottawa.ca

  1. Respond to an online poll

Take a moment to answer this brief online poll about whether you support or oppose this proposal: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/100Bayshore.

Community concerns

The scale of the development proposed would represent a dramatic change to the current land use and character of the local area and has generated concerns among many residents living in the area. The magnitude of this change is confirmed by the fact that the proposed development requires both a zoning by-law amendment and an exemption from the Official Plan because it does not conform to the land use requirements for the neighbourhood, which specify both a 12-storey height limit and fronting onto an arterial street (one that has sufficient capacity to handle projected traffic volumes).

The Bayshore area is currently a densely developed community, and the added intensification from an additional 500 new households would place increasing pressure on existing infrastructure, including the streets accessing Bayshore Shopping Centre, Holly Acres Rd, Andrew Haydon Park, and Corkstown Road. Environmental impacts on Graham Creek and Andrew Haydon Park, due to volume and flow of storm water, and significant increase in people accessing the park are likely outcomes.

Ottawa’s Urban Design Review Panel is concerned too

A panel of independent urban design professionals has raised concerns with this project [scroll to 100 Bayshore] and has recommended several significant changes, including the proposed density, site capacity and lack of greenspace (June 5, 2020).

Development exceeds scale and capacity of the neighbourhood

The City is now focused on intensification of development in order to protect greenspace, reduce infrastructure costs, and accommodate a growing population. In principle it makes sense to develop the unused land adjacent to the Bayshore Shopping Centre. However, the current proposed development would represent a dramatic change to the current land use and character of the local area. Approval could set a precedent for height of future developments locally. Comparable redevelopment projects in residential areas close to west-end transit stations range from 12 to 20 stories. Why so tall here? 

Building height. This development would literally tower over the neighbourhood, being almost three times taller than the nearby high-rise buildings at Accora village, and well above other high-rise buildings in this part of Nepean. (18 storeys is the maximum within a kilometre radius). This would have a dramatic impact on the look and character of the neighbourhood, and may set a precedent for additional towers of this size in the immediate area. Apart from aesthetic changes, such buildings will cast significant shade over many other properties, which has consequences for the enjoyment and economic value of those affected. The building’s proximity to the highway and the Greenbelt makes it a landmark building for those entering the city.  Regardless of height, it should have a unique character associated with its landmark status

Building density. The addition of 500 new households (750 to 1,000 people) to the area will clearly add pressure to the surrounding neighbourhood in terms of traffic congestion, parking, schools, and use of nearby parks (notably Andrew Haydon Park).

This development would generate a substantial increase in car traffic on roads that were not designed for such volumes and cannot be expanded to accommodate it. The traffic analysis submitted to date is overly optimistic about the additional traffic volume to be expected (relying on “best case” assumptions). This will create problems for current residents who already rely on street parking, resulting in a shortage of parking. This can be more than an inconvenience but a public safety issue for people who can no longer park near their homes at night.

No green space is planned for the buildings, other than “a rooftop amenity.” An additional 750 to 1000 residents will access Andrew Haydon Park (already exceeding capacity on weekends), and other local parks, thereby putting pressure on limited greenspace (pressure both on the environment and on the quality of the experience of using the greenspace).

Environmental impacts. The entire Bayshore residential community and shopping centre does not have proper storm sewer drainage, but rather empties directly into Graham Creek just to the west. At present, strong rainfall results in storm water overflowing into the creek, and causing flooding, erosion, and property damage to conservation areas and residential properties abutting the creek. Any further development will significantly exacerbate what is already a growing problem and cannot take place without a significant new investment in storm sewer infrastructure. Noticeably, the developer’s proposal does not acknowledge the problem nor a solution (apart from generic statements that infrastructure is the City’s responsibility).

Planning and consultation inadequate

Lack of good faith by the developer. The developer (Ivanhoe Cambridge) has not demonstrated any apparent interest or commitment to being a good neighbour in the community. The developer has undertaken no proactive outreach to residents in the neighbourhoods in the vicinity of the site, including Accora Village, Creekside and Stonehedge, prior to submitting its proposal to the City. All of these areas are within the designated 600 metre study zone for new developments, but not addressed (or addressed sufficiently) in any of the reports submitted by the developer to the City, in terms of potential impacts such as sun shade, parking, park use, etc.

Our local Councillor Theresa Kavanagh sponsored a public meeting for residents on March 10, which was well attended despite limited notice, at which the developer’s agents and City staff presented the proposal and entertained questions. A range of concerns about the proposed development were voiced by residents, and the developer’s written response to these concerns was superficial, and in some cases, dismissive.

We are concerned the developer may have little or no interest in addressing local concerns at this stage, and will have little motivation to address them in the design, construction and operation of the development, should the approval for the zoning and Official Plan exemptions be granted.

Absence of a secondary plan for the neighbourhood. This proposed development has ramifications beyond the site on which it would be built, in terms of the development of adjacent properties, traffic flow, and infrastructure. No secondary plan exists for this area to map out future development with well thought-out planning. The developer is asking for an amendment to the city official plan to permit these towers to be built on other than an arterial road. This restriction is in place to reduce congestion on non-arterial roads

Current City policy (Policy 3.6.1.17) states that: “The area located generally within 800 metres walking distance of this [Bayshore] transit station is identified as a special study area where a secondary planning process will be undertaken, by either the landowner or the City to determine the future land use, height, density, connectivity, and the overall character of the community, and which may be implemented through a secondary plan and amendments to the applicable Zoning by-law. In the interim and notwithstanding the above policies to the contrary, high-rise buildings up to 12 storeys in height will continue to be permitted in those areas where zoning currently permits high-rise buildings. (Amendment #150, October 19, 2018).

This City policy confirms the City’s intention—and commitment to local residents—to undertake a thorough planning process to consider the future land use of this area prior to any new development that is not in accordance with the current official plan. Until such a process is completed, the approval of 30- and 27-storey high-rise towers negates the purpose of this policy and renders it moot. For the City to take such action represents a betrayal of the interests and quality of life of local area residents, in terms of considering their interests as citizens and local property owners.

Other changes planned for Holly Acres Road. The traffic implications of this and related developments go beyond the roadways around Bayshore. Both Carling Avenue and Holly Acres Road—which the community depends on as a vital link to Bells Corners, our centre of commerce—will be subject to increased cycling, pedestrian, and vehicular traffic from this one new development. It is important to understand, however, that in addition to this project, a number of other significant changes are planned for Holly Acres Road.

  1. Re-location of 417 ramps. With the project to widen highway 417, the two existing eastbound on-ramps on Richmond Road are being closed and replaced with a ramp off Holly Acres Road directly opposite the highway 416 exit ramp (2021?). The change will result in substantially more traffic on Holly Acres Road.
  2. Holly Acres BRT corridor. A Bus Rapid Transit corridor will be routed from Baseline Road, across Richmond Road down the middle of Holly Acres Rd. to and from Bayshore Station (after 2031).

The community is concerned that the Ivanhoe Cambridge proposal will be looked at in isolation from all the other projects. It is important that the requests for re-zoning and change to the official plan be considered responsibly, not in isolation, but systemically within the context of all the changes planned for Holly Acres Road and the surrounding community. The community needs responsible development and a secondary plan for the area.

For more information, please contact generalCBLCA@gmail.com

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